Friday, 30 October 2009
- II -
I fell asleep an hour or so later. I was really hoping for dreamless sleep but that would be too much to ask I guess. I dreamt about Dylan, of course. About the time when he almost knocked my teeth out. It was two or three weeks after the school started. We were still desk partners. We remained desk partners until the freaking graduation. We wouldn’t talk much but at least we would talk. I was the only person in the entire school Dylan would talk to in somewhat normal way. When it came to anyone else, he was an unbelievable dick. For some reason his attitude didn’t get him into as much trouble as someone would expect. He would get an occasional detention but that was it.
I dreamt about the day when he left his book in the classroom. As soon as the bell rang that day, he took off in his usual manner without saying anything. I was used to that by then so it didn’t bother me. Then, after I got all my crap together, I realized that the only book left on the desk wasn’t mine. It was Dylan’s. I grabbed it and went outside. I had no intentions of chasing him, I was planning on giving it to him tomorrow. When I got outside, however, I saw him almost immediately. He was walking across the parking lot, his hair shining in the sun.
I called his name and he didn’t slow down. I yelled his name again. No reaction. Then he stopped and started fumbling through his pockets. As I learned later, he was looking for his lighter. So I went after him. I was positive that he knew I was behind him. I mean, I yelled his name several more times. Well, apparently he had no idea that I was there. I got close enough to him, said “Hey!” and grabbed his shoulder. His reaction was beyond wild. He spun around and before I could say “Huh?” he punched me in the face so hard that I swear, I saw the stars.
Then his eyes immediately became huge and panicked. He muttered “Oh, shit!”, dropped his backpack on the ground, and grabbed my wrist, his hands shaking.
“I’m sorry”, he said quickly. “Shit, I’m sorry!”
I had a very strong desire to beat him into bloody pulp right then. I mumbled something that resembled “Go to hell” and pulled his hand off my wrist. Then I looked at him and I didn’t feel like beating the shit out of him anymore. He looked like he was about to start crying or something.
“Jesus”, I grumbled and carefully ran my tongue over my teeth. All there, good. “What the hell…?”
“I’m sorry”, he said again. “I didn’t know it was you… I… I don’t react well when someone grabs me… Sorry.”
“I called your name like a hundred times”, I said angrily.
“I didn’t hear you”, he muttered. “Crap, Connor, I’m sorry…”
I waved my hand at him, trying to tell him to shut up already. Then I shoved that damn book into his hands. He looked at it with great confusion.
“It’s yours, dumbass”, I muttered and rubbed my cheekbone. It hurt.
Great, I thought gloomily. I’m gonna have a hell of a bruise tomorrow.
“I’m sorry”, he said again.
“See you”, I grumbled and started walking away.
Then I’ve heard a loud honk and a woman’s voice called Dylan’s name rather shrilly. I turned around and blinked. It was Kay Laurie, the hottest woman in the entire goddamn city. She was a model for several magazines, at least two of them lingerie ones. How on earth does she know Dylan? I looked at him. He picked up his backpack and walked towards her car. Right before he got in, he looked at me and mouthed “I’m sorry” again.
I woke up and immediately smelled cigarettes and coffee. I sat up and rubbed my eyes. Finally I got off the couch and shuffled into the kitchen. Dylan was smoking in front of the open window, his back uncomfortably straight because of the bandages. He looked at me above his shoulder.
“I made coffee”, he said with a small smile that used to turn me on like no other.
I felt familiar twitching in my groin and gritted my teeth.
“I can see that”, I grumbled. “And smell for that matter…”
I poured myself a mug full, grabbed a cigarette and sat on the windowsill next to him.
“I dreamt about your Aunt”, I said after a minute or two. “How is she?”
“Alive, I think”, he said solemnly. “I haven’t talked to her for almost as long as I haven’t talked to you.”
“How did you even find me?” I narrowed my eye against cigarette smoke.
He gave me a slightly amused look.
“Never mind”, I sighed.
If Dylan wanted to find something or someone, he’d do it, no matter how hard it would be. And I doubted that finding me was hard at all. We smoked in silence for a while. Finally I flicked my cigarette out of the window.
“Get off the sill”, I said. “I need to check on your cuts.”
“They are fine”, he grinned. “I heal fast, you know it.”
“I still need to make sure that they didn’t get infected”, I said gloomily. “So get off the windowsill.”
He dropped his cigarette outside and slid off the sill. I made him sit down on the chair and turned the kitchen lights on. He pulled his shirt off, wincing slightly. I kicked another chair closer to his and sat on it. Very carefully I pulled the bandages off his cuts. They didn’t look too bad but they weren’t great either. I expected them to be better by now, to be honest. They weren’t infected or at least I didn’t think so. But they were still gaping open. And they were still bleeding.
“I gotta clean them again”, I said finally.
“They’ll heal”, he shrugged.
“Or they will get freaking infected”, I snapped. “Sit still.”
Then I repeated last night’s ordeal with the rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs. I knew it hurt him because his breathing became shallow again and fingers of his right hand wrapped tightly around the back of my chair.
“God, I hope I won’t have to stitch you up”, I muttered when I was finally done.
“You know how?” he asked softly.
“Yeah”, I nodded without looking at him. “You take the needle, thread, and then you sew. The same as putting a button back on your shirt.”
“Right”, he laughed. “Ow! Son of a bitch…”
“Don’t laugh, sneeze, or cough”, I rolled my eyes. “You have three broken ribs. It’ll hurt.”
“I know”, he agreed.
I glanced at the clock.
“I gotta go to work”, I said.
“Call in”, he snorted.
“No”, I got up. “There is food in the fridge, you have enough smokes, you are not disabled by any means. You’ll be fine.”
“What time you get off?” he pulled his shirt back on and got up.
“Seven”, I said curtly. “I’ll be back at seven thirty. Maybe earlier. Try not to attract any attention to yourself, will you?”
“I won’t”, he promised with a nod.
I grabbed my car keys and headed towards the door. I wasn’t late nor was I anxious to get to work. But I wanted to get the hell out of the apartment, away from his scent, his eyes, his goddamn smile… Shit, I thought I was free of him. After eight freaking years I was positive that I was finally free of him, my mind was free of him, my body was free of him. But no such luck.
I put my sneakers on and grabbed my jacket. He came closer and leaned on the wall slightly.
“Want me to make dinner?” he asked.
I knew he was mocking me right now. He hated cooking with the passion. He was bad at it too. I looked at him darkly.
“I’ll get pizza”, I said.
“All right”, he nodded and peeled himself off the wall. “Hey…”
Sudden change of intonation in his voice made me blink. Now he sounded uncomfortable like he was trying to say something that was quite difficult for him.
“What?” I frowned when he just stood there.
“Thanks”, he muttered finally.
Okay, that explains why he sounded uncomfortable. Saying “thanks” for him was worse than agreeing to cook for a full week.
“Yeah”, I said quietly. “I gotta go.”
And then he was really close to me and I honestly don’t know how it happened but his lips were on mine and his tongue was doing its painfully familiar quick licks on the corner of my mouth. Before I could think, I was trying to catch his tongue with my lips. I managed to do it on the third try and then my head was spinning after he was assaulting my mouth, my teeth, my tongue. His fingers were idly playing with my hair, stroking my face. It felt like he had his hands everywhere at once just like eight years ago. He let out a small moan into my mouth and it sent shivers down my spine.
I almost succumbed right then. Almost. At the last second I managed to pull myself together though. I took a step back, holding his shoulders with my hands. His eyes flew open when he wasn’t in my mouth anymore.
“Dylan”, I muttered. “I am not going down that road again…”
He didn’t say anything. He just looked at me with those transparent eyes of his, his breathing shallow.
“I gotta go”, I whispered and opened the door.
I stumbled out of the apartment, my knees shaking. Goddammit… I leaned on the wall next to the door and closed my eyes. I know what I just said. “I am not going down that road again”. I know that. But I also knew that if he makes another move, I won’t be able to push him away. He is unstable, moody, downright psychotic, he has that very disturbing sadistic streak in him, I know all that. But God help me, I still love that son of a bitch. I almost decided “Ah, screw work! Go back inside, call in sick, and don’t worry about the consequences!” I almost did. I took a step towards the door and wrapped my fingers around the door handle. Then I let go of it and almost ran downstairs like someone was chasing me.
Thursday, 29 October 2009
Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas
By Danny Elfman, Marilyn Manson, Panic!@ the Disco, Fiona Apple, Fall Out Boy, Paul Reubens, Catherine O' Hara, Citizens of Halloween, Patrick Stewert
Oogie Boogie Song
This is a first chapter of the story. I've been caught up in my own world again lately so don't feel like blogging.
- I -
You know how people usually start telling stories from the beginning? Yeah, well, I am not one of them. Not because I want to be an original or something. Neither do I like confuse the others nor I have anything against the beginnings. It’s just I don’t want to talk about what happened in the beginning. Because then I’ll end up remembering all the crap that happened and I don’t want that. I am sure I’ll have to explain some things anyway and I will have inevitable flashbacks but it’ll be nothing compared to remembering every single freaking detail and re-living it all over again. So just bear with me.
My name is Connor Blake, I am twenty five, single, and I guess somewhat bitter. I work part-time for one of the debt collecting agencies around here. I am one of those people who have to deal with ridiculous complaints, anger outbursts, and other stuff like that over the phone. I guess I am a perfect person for a job like that because I could care less about someone else’s problems. I also don’t get intimidated or pissed off easily.
I don’t even have to work, to be honest. My parents died four years ago and they left me a small fortune. And since I am the only child, the amount of money that was in their accounts will probably last me until the day I die. So no, I don’t have to work. But I have to do at least something so my life doesn’t seem like a completely useless waste of time.
Anyway, tonight was just another Tuesday night and it was raining like no other. It was the end of November so the bad weather was to be expected. I don’t like rain. It always puts me into restless mood. Tonight was no different. I paced around my apartment, chain-smoked for the last hour or so, and I was about to go and see what I have left of my liquor stash when the doorbell rang.
That was unusual. See, the only people who would actually visit me were my mailman, my neighbor, and sometimes the FedEx guy. It was nine thirty in the evening so it was too late for a mailman. My neighbor left to see his daughter in Washington. And the last time I ordered something from internet was several months ago so I knew it wasn’t a FedEx guy.
I drowned my cigarette in a cup of cold coffee and went to the door. I never bother asking stuff like “Who’s there?” I don’t see the point. I’ll find out when I open the door. Plus, if someone really wants to get in, I doubt that my asking “Who’s there?” is going to stop them from doing so. I opened the door and then I just stood there. I don’t think I even blinked. I just stared at him. He gave me the same old slightly crooked smile and ran his fingers through his wet hair. He was dripping water all over.
I don’t know how long we stood there without saying anything but then I’ve heard a distant wail of a police siren. He raised his shoulders slightly and the minute I saw a flash of panic in his eyes, I knew that there was a very good chance those sirens were wailing because of him. I stepped aside and let him in. He stumbled inside and I locked the door. I knew that I didn’t have to say something like “Make yourself comfortable”. He’d do it anyway. So I just headed to the kitchen instead. I grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge and went back to my living room, trying not to succumb to all those damn memories that decided to flood me right now.
He was sitting on the couch and he looked like he was awfully uncomfortable. He held his arm at the weird angle and he tried not to lean on the back of the couch too much.
“You hurt?” I asked indifferently and he just grimaced.
I noticed a bright red spot on the side of his shirt, right underneath his elbow and I sighed. Dammit… I sat my water on the table.
“Take your shirt off”, I said calmly.
“It’ll heal”, he grimaced again. “No need…”
“You are going to bleed all over my couch”, I said tiredly. “Take you goddamn shirt off.”
He looked like he was about to start spitting poison in his usual manner that used to drive me nuts eight years ago. To my enormous surprise he didn’t say anything. Instead he straightened up a little and started pulling off his shirt.
“What’s with your arm?” I asked gloomily. “Broken?”
“No”, he winced when he twisted his shoulder a little bit too much. “Just dislocated… I think”, he added in a softer voice.
He thinks, right. He finally managed to pull his shirt off and when I saw what was underneath it, I almost whistled. His entire rib cage was black, blue, and purple as if he spilled a crapload of paint all over himself. There were two nasty looking cuts on his side which explained the blood on his shirt. And his left arm looked like it was pulled out of its socket and twisted back in the wrong way. I guess he was right - it was dislocated. I thought for a minute. I know how to fix broken ribs, it’s not too hard. Dislocated arm is not such a big problem either. The cuts on the other hand…
He was panting now. I guess all that movement caused him more pain than he expected. His wet hair was falling all over his face and neck. He always favored long hair. I guess some things never change.
“Pull your hair up”, I said curtly. “It’ll get in my way.”
I didn’t wait for his response and marched to the bathroom. I fumbled in every single drawer and cabinet, and finally I’ve had enough bandages to wrap up a mummy. I grabbed a bottle of rubbing alcohol and some cotton swabs. Then I wondered briefly if I am a complete idiot for getting myself into this whole thing. I came to the conclusion that yes, I am a complete idiot. That knowledge made me feel better for some strange reason and I went back.
He was desperately trying to get his hair up. Of course his efforts were ridiculously futile. I mean, when you only have one functioning arm and no hair band, you don’t expect your hair to just stay put the way you want it to.
“Oh for the love of God”, I muttered and pushed the little coffee table closer to the couch with my knee.
I dumped all the stuff I had in my hands on it, found a rubber band in one of my pockets, and pushed his hand away unceremoniously. Once again I was surprised when he didn’t say anything and just dropped his hand into his lap obediently. I peeled all the wet blond strands off his neck and shoulders and pulled them into a ponytail. I wrapped that rubber band around it and gritted my teeth when I had a vicious flashback of all that hair spilling on my face. I guess I pulled his ponytail somewhat hard because he let out a low surprised grunt and jerked his head.
“Sorry”, I said without any remorse and let go of his hair.
I walked around the couch and sat next to him.
“Turn”, I commanded.
He did and I stared at his left arm thoughtfully. If it’s not dislocated but broken instead, and if I try to pop it back in, then he’ll probably pass out from pain. That and I’ll do even more damage. Finally I ran my fingers over his bizarre looking shoulder, feeling for broken bones. I didn’t feel any but then again, I am no medic.
“Okay”, I muttered finally. “Do you want to take chances with your arm?”
He looked at me above his shoulder.
“It’s dislocated”, he said.
“If it’s not and I try to pop it, you’ll be sorry”, I shrugged.
“It is”, he said curtly without looking away. “Just pop it.”
“Okay”, I sighed. “It’ll hurt.”
“I know”, he snorted. “Not my first time.”
I grabbed a hold of his arm and he turned away, his head lowered. I straightened his arm up as much as I could and placed my left hand onto his shoulder. I took a deep breath, hoping that the damn bone was not broken. And then I pulled it as hard as I could, aiming for his shoulder where I knew it was supposed to go. There was a loud “Ker-Plop!!” noise and his body jerked forward. He screamed out once but managed to shut himself up. He was shaking like he was electrocuted and the cuts on his side started to bleed worse.
I ran my fingers over his shoulder again. It felt fine. I let go of his arm and it fell on the couch like something lifeless. He propped himself on the pillow with his good arm and took very quick shallow breaths of air.
“Sit still”, I sighed and reached for the cotton swabs and rubbing alcohol.
I moved his arm out of the way and looked at the cuts critically. Wonder if they need to be stitched up or something. I had no idea. Finally I decided to clean them first.
“Gonna sting”, I said matter-of-factly and he just nodded, a couple of shorter strands escaped the rubber band and hung in front of his face by now.
I carefully touched one of the cuts with the cotton ball that I soaked in alcohol. He immediately stiffened up but didn’t move or make any noise. I knew it hurt like a bitch though. As I said, those cuts looked nasty. I spent probably a good half an hour cleaning both of them thoroughly. I had to make sure they don’t get infected because there was no way for me to fix that. And I knew that he will never agree to go to the hospital.
Finally they looked as okay as cuts like these could possibly look. I decided to take my chances and bandage them up instead of stitching. If he still bleeds by tomorrow morning then I suppose I’ll have to do that.
“Okay”, I said. “Turn around.”
He muttered something that I didn’t understand.
“What?” I leaned closer.
“Can’t… Move…” he whispered through his clenched teeth.
He was clutching one of the pillows with the fingers of his right hand so bad that his fingernails turned completely white. His head was still lowered so I couldn’t see his face but his neck had a thick blue vein that kept pulsating like crazy.
I pushed a couple of pillows together, making sure that they don’t make too much clatter and don’t get in my way. Then I got off the couch and grabbed his left arm that still reminded me of a dead snake. I pulled it up to my neck.
“Can you at least hold on to me?” I asked gloomily.
His hand jerked weakly and I felt his fingers clutching onto my neck. I peeled the fingers of his right hand off the pillow and he grabbed onto my wrist desperately. He had a hell of a grip. I lifted him off the couch just a little so I could sit his ass back down and get easier access to his ribs. His head promptly fell on my chest and the smell of his drying hair immediately sent another flashback into my brain. I gritted my teeth.
I sat him down carefully. No need to cause him anymore pain right now. When he heals, I’ll be more than happy to kick his ass though.
“Don’t lean”, I said and he nodded and propped himself on his right arm again.
It took me almost an hour to bandage him up. I didn’t want to make it too tight but at the same time I had to apply just enough pressure to stop the damn cuts from bleeding and to get his ribs smashed back into place. Finally I was done and I had his blood all over my hands and shirt.
“You look… Like a… Butcher…” he grinned weakly, perspiration beading all over his forehead.
“You are the one to talk”, I muttered.
He managed to give me a small shrug.
“I don’t look like one though”, he said, his breathing not as shallow as before.
That was true. He certainly didn’t look like a psycho that he was. When I saw him for the first time eight years ago, my first thought was “Oh dear God, how can someone be so beautiful?” He wasn’t handsome or pretty. He was downright beautiful. His features weren’t perfect like the ones on the Greek statues. His mouth was a little too wide, nose a little too thin, eyes sat a little too far apart. But all those features mixed together made him look astonishing.
It was the second day of school when I saw him for the first time. I missed the first day because some idiot ran into my Jeep on the red light and another idiot decided to call the cops. By the time I was done with the whole ordeal, it was too late to go anywhere so I went home instead. And then the next day I saw him. He sat next to me and I just stared at him. I have never had a thing for guys. I still don’t. But when I saw him, the only thing I could think about was how beautiful he was. Finally he muttered without even looking at me:
“Take a picture. It’ll last longer.”
That was when I realized that my mouth was hanging open. Thank God I wasn’t drooling. I asked him what his name was and he didn’t respond to that. Finally I shrugged and left him alone. Then, after I was done getting my stuff out on the desk, he muttered still without looking at me:
…I shook my head. God, I haven’t thought about that day in ages. I looked at him. He wasn’t as pale anymore.
“You have a smoke?” he asked when he caught my eyes.
I threw a pack at him and he caught it somewhat easily. Good, I thought. His arm is fine. He lit a cigarette and after a few seconds there was a funny puzzled expression on his face. Then it changed into slight disgust.
“What the hell is this?” he stared at the cigarette. “It’s like sucking on air!”
“I smoke like a chimney lately”, I shrugged. “Figured I’ll live a couple of days longer if I switch to something light.”
He sighed and broke the filter off.
“Or you will smoke more instead”, he said finally.
“What did you do this time?” I took my pack away from him. “Or who did you piss off so bad?”
He waved his hand in the air.
“The usual”, he smiled.
“I see”, I said evenly. “Why did you come here? Why didn’t you go to one of your friends?”
He frowned slightly and lowered his hand with cigarette between his fingers.
“Friends?” he repeated in a low voice.
I couldn’t help it. I cracked up.
“Right”, I muttered. “My bad.”
He never had any friends.
“I need a drink”, he said thoughtfully. “Badly.”
“I might have something left”, I sighed. “Come on.”
…Half an hour later he was sitting on the chair in the kitchen, sipping straight scotch like it was water.
“I’ll get out of here in the morning”, he said, his eyes half-closed.
“Right”, I agreed solemnly. “Because you are in great condition now. Make it easier to waste you for whoever that is you managed to piss off.”
He opened one eye and looked at me intently.
“You want me to stay or something?” he asked with interest.
“I don’t care what you do”, I said quickly. “If you want to leave, go ahead. I am just saying that it’s a dumb idea.”
He closed his eyes again.
“I’ll stay then”, he said indifferently. “You have any food?”
“Look in the fridge”, I said tiredly.
He hemmed and sat his glass on the table. Five minutes later he was digging through my fridge. Finally he pulled out a couple of cold hot dogs and closed the fridge.
“I do have a microwave”, I noted when he was taking small vicious bites out of the hot dog.
“Don’t care about that”, he said between the bites. “I am going to pass out as soon as I am done with these… Where do I sleep?”
“I don’t care”, I sighed. “Anywhere you want. I am going to go get more smokes. Don’t open the door, don’t answer the phone.”
“Right”, he nodded seriously. “Can you get something stronger than the crap you gave me?”
“Maybe”, I said gloomily.
…I came back in less than half an hour and he wasn’t in the kitchen anymore. I threw two cartons of Parliaments on the table and locked the front door. I expected to see him fast asleep on the couch but he wasn’t there either. I frowned and went into my room. Sure enough, there he was. Fast asleep in my bed. He was laying on his back, his hair half-covering his face, mouth slightly open.
I looked at him for maybe a couple of minutes, then I sighed and went into the living room. I guess I am going to sleep on the couch tonight. Great.
Saturday, 17 October 2009
Friday, 16 October 2009
Warning: Any resemblance between this fictional piece and a real person is most certainly accidental.
"Hello! Local ISP, how can I help you?"
"Well, I was sorta hoping someone could walk me through taking a leak."
"Okay... well, do you have to go now?"
"Yes, I do."
"Okay... well, are you on male or female equipment?"
"Okay, the first thing we want to do is find your fly.."
"Your fly... It opens your pants. It should be in the front of you. Look down."
"I see shoes."
"No, sir... look sorta in the front of you... like just below your stomach. You should see some metal on your pants. That's your fly.."
"The round thing?"
"Well, that's your button... let's open that, too, while we're down there. The fly looks like a lot of little metal things sideways."
"Oh, okay.. got it. <pause> Okay, it's open.."
"Okay, sir... can you grab your willy?"
"Do you see your willy?"
"Okay... what do you see?"
"I see white... just white and some lines.."
"Do you have underwear installed?"
"Sir, if you can't see your willy, and you see only white... I think that you may have underwear installed. We are going to have to uninstall your underwear to take a leak...."
"Well, my friend was the last one to use my fly... he might have installed underwear..."
"Okay, sir... well grab the white part and pull down... keep pulling until you see your willy.."
"It's stuck... it won't go down..."
"The white part? Or your willy?"
"DON"T pull down on your willy, sir... just the underwear... we only want to get to the point where we can see it...."
"Oh... okay, we're there...."
"Okay... now look around the room... do you see anything made of porcelain?"
"I see a little penguin on a shelf ..."
"Okay, sir...you're in the living room.... go to the bathroom. We can't take a leak until we are in the bathroom. The bathroom will have a lot of tile, maybe some carpeting... yours might have mirrors or some soap in it. Some people have showers in their bathrooms..."
"Well, I'm downstairs... I think the bathroom is upstairs..."
"Okay, well... let's go upstairs..."
"I can't walk..."
"Okay, sir... temporarily reinstall your underwear... then go upstairs.. then uninstall your underwear again..."
"That was the white part, right?"
"Yes, sir... that's correct..."
"Okay, I'm upstairs..."
"Okay... now do you see any porcelain bowl-type things?"
"Well, there's two..."
"How tall are you sir?"
"Okay... go to the one where it's lower than your willy...."
"Okay... now make sure that you are pointing toward the porcelain bowl.. now just go.... "
"What do you mean?"
"Well, when it pops up... just hit 'okay'....."
Thursday, 15 October 2009
Lest We Forget: The Best Of
By Marilyn Manson
Why is it when you tell someone that you don't like them, they tend to think it's a joke? Really, how more plain can I get? I mean, I thought that saying "I'd rather slit my wrists than spend an evening with you, let alone the entire weekend" was blunt enough. What response did I get? "Oh you... <insert coquetish hair-twirling here> You are so cute!" Huh? Really?! I said it with straight face too, no hint of a smile or anything that could be interpreted as flirting or attempts on being cute. Although wrist-slitting ordeal and flirting never meshed in my head, it's not the case for everyone out there. Apparently.
So what is it that one has to do to get their message across? "I don't like you, go away" works like a very strange aphrodisiac on some individuals. "Not interested" or "Sorry, I am with someone already" doesn't seem to work either. Don't get me wrong, I don't have people just throwing themselves at me because I am so "ridiculously good-looking" but there is one particular character that just does not get the bloody message.
I suppose I can just have some fun and see how far I can push the limits of verbal abuse... I wonder if that person will ever get offended? Hmmm, I think I have a project growing on the horizon....